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365 days of Human Rights

Caption: People living on the streets gathered together on Human Rights Day. Standing in from the left Captain Floris, SAPS; Sargeant Plaatjies, SAPS; Mr Fail, SAHARA and Mr Gelderbloem, Kidstop.

On March 20, 2024, George Municipality marked Human Rights Day with a meaningful event involving 80 individuals living on the streets. The South African Police Service participated in the day with the municipality facilitating a dialogue between the police service and the homeless population. The primary objective of the day was to reaffirm the rights and responsibilities inherent to all individuals, including those experiencing homelessness. Attendees, which included representatives from the Police service, Kidstop, SAHARA, and CREMHOG, collectively emphasized the need for a year-round (365 days) commitment to human rights, rather than confining it to a single day of observance.

Asavela Mandongana, a Social Worker at the Municipality, addressed the gathering, highlighting the crucial message that homelessness is not a choice, and individuals should not be defined by their circumstances. “We do not choose to be homeless, but we can choose to change our circumstances to become a better version of ourselves and reduce homelessness,” Mandongana stated, underscoring the importance of avoiding labels that can perpetuate human rights violations.

Estelle Fredericks, who is actively involved in working with the homeless community, offered further insights and can be reached for additional information on upcoming Forum meetings or ongoing programs and projects aimed at assisting the homeless on 044 802 2000. The event served as a reminder of the collective responsibility to uphold and protect the rights of all individuals within society. By fostering understanding, dialogue, and practical initiatives, George Municipality continues its commitment to promoting human rights and addressing the challenges faced by vulnerable communities.